Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Alleged Russian spy worked at US' Moscow mission for a decade

Alleged Russian spy worked at US' Moscow mission for a decade

A Russian national hired by the Secret Service to work at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow was dismissed as a suspected spy a year ago, a leading British newspaper reported Thursday.

The Secret Service did not deny that this former embassy employee was suspected to be a Russian spy, but they insisted that foreign service nationals employed by USA embassies do not have access to national security information.

Officials established that the woman was having regular, unauthorised meetings with members from FSB - Russia's main security agency.

"We figure that all of them are talking to the FSB, but she was giving them way more information than she should have", a senior administration official told CNN.

The unidentified woman, who was sacked in 2017 after her security clearance was revoked, reportedly had access to the secret service's intranet and email systems, potentially giving her access to confidential information, including schedules of the United States president and vice-president.

"The US Congress is focusing on Russian hackers when it is possible that all of the information they needed to get into the system came from the internal breach in the Secret Service".

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Asked detailed questions about the investigation into the woman, and her dismissal, the Secret Service attempted to downplay the significance of her role.

Acknowledging that foreign nationals can clearly be influenced by foreign intelligence agencies at any time, the agency noted that this situation is specifically tailored to Russian Federation.

The CIA has downplayed the role of the alleged spy, claiming that Russian nationals are hired by the embassy merely for the objective of "translation, interpretation, cultural guidance, liaison and administrative support". She was also meeting regularly and without embassy approval with contacts from the FSB, the modern equivalent of the Soviet-era KGB.

The State Department also acknowledged the risk of foreign governments trying to recruit its employees overseas and said it screens applicants and employees carefully as a result. In a statement released to CNN, the department stated the following.

The state department later went on to concede the risk that foreign governments can pose to those employed by the USA government.

The State Department declined to comment and said they "do not comment on allegations related to intelligence or personnel matters, and we have no information for you on this alleged incident", CNN reported. Punitive action, however, was not taken as the matter was being probed.

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